Roughly two months after the final expulsion of the Muslims in Spain, on March 31, 1492 Isabella I of Castile
and Ferdinand II of Aragon
promulgated the Alhambra Decree
, ordering the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdom of Spain and its territories and possessions by July 31, 1492.
"Hostility towards the Jews in Spain was brought to a climax during the reign of the "Catholic Monarchs," Ferdinand
. Their marriage in 1469, which formed a personal union
of the crowns of Aragon
, with coordinated policies between their distinct kingdoms, eventually led to the final unification of Spain.
"Although their initial policies towards the Jews were protective, Ferdinand and Isabella were disturbed by reports claiming that most Jewish converts to Christianity were insincere in their conversion.
As mentioned above, some claims that conversos
continued to practice Judaism in secret (see Crypto-Judaism
) were true, but the "Old" Christians exaggerated the scale of the phenomenon. It was also claimed that Jews were trying to draw conversos back into the Jewish fold. In 1478, Ferdinand and Isabella made a formal application to Rome
to set up an Inquisition in Castile to investigate these and other suspicions. In 1487, King Ferdinand promoted the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition
Tribunals in Castile.
In the Crown of Aragon, it had been first instituted in the 13th century to combat the Albigensian heresy
. However, the focus of this new Inquisition was to find and punish conversos
who were practicing Judaism in secret.
"These issues came to a head during Ferdinand and Isabella's final conquest of Granada. The independent Islamic Emirate of Granada
had been a tributary state
to Castile since 1238. Jews and conversos played an important role during this campaign because they had the ability to raise money and acquire weapons through their extensive trade networks.
This perceived increase in Jewish influence further infuriated the Old Christians and the hostile elements of the clergy.
Finally, in 1491 in preparation for an imminent transition to Castilian territory, the Treaty of Granada
was signed by Emir Muhammad XII
and the Queen of Castile, protecting the religious freedom of the Muslims there. By 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella had won the Battle of Granada
and completed the Catholic Reconquista
of the Iberian Peninsula from Islamic forces
. However, the Jewish population emerged from the campaign more hated by the populace and less useful to the monarchs" (Wikipedia article on Alhambra Decree, accessed 9-2020).